L'Osservatore Editor: People Thirst for the Church

Says Despite Clergy Scandals, the World Needs Priests

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ROME, JUNE 21, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The world needs what the Church and the priesthood offer, says Giovanni Maria Vian, despite the abuses that have been discovered within the clergy recently.

The editor of the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano stated this in an article, «The Sacrament and the Thirst of the World,» published Wednesday.

He reflected on the «profound meaning» of the Year for Priests, which ended June 11, as seen in the words of Benedict XVI.

«It is not a profession like others; it is neither a closed caste nor a clerical reality but rather a sacrament; namely, a sign of an infinitely greater reality and, for this reason, the priesthood is open to the world,» Vian wrote, echoing the Pontiff’s words.


He continued: «The year dedicated to the priesthood, an opportunity to reflect on and to restore the priesthood’s radiance to people’s eyes did not please the ‘enemy.’

«This was to be expected, the Pope stressed. And so it was that the scandal of the sins of priests came to light, particularly the terrible abuse of little ones.»

Vian recalled how the Holy Father, in this light, «humbly asked God and the victims for forgiveness for these crimes, without recrimination or bitterness but emphasizing the task of purification that has already begun and will be a long one.»

«He is aware that these scandals have cast a shadow over the authentic face of the Church,» the editor affirmed, «a reality for which even the secularized world is yearning, partly indicated by the scandal itself in the face of these very real crimes.»

He noted that people today feel «the need for someone who can truly change the situation of their lives by pronouncing in Christ’s Name words that absolve them from sin and open them to God.»

«This is the meaning of sacrament,» Vian added, «of Penance, of the Eucharist, of the Sacrament of Orders itself, visible signs in which is concealed the audacity of a God who entrusts himself to human hands.»

The editor noted that «in the face of conduct unworthy of the priestly sacrament as when she faces heresy and the disintegration of the faith ‘the Church must use the shepherd’s rod,’ the Pope said forcefully.»

«He added that this can actually be ‘a service of love,'» Vian recalled, «and that the rod is also a ‘staff,’ a support in the hardships of the journey; and that the Church points out to men the Heart of Christ, the one source of living water that can quench the world’s thirst.»

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